Bedbugs are the headlice of accommodation. They are more common than most realize because no self respecting venue wants anyone else to know they’ve got or had bedbugs. We’ve all heard the saying “sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite!”. This saying arose in the early part of the 20th century when bedbugs were a common problem. These days bedbugs are making a comeback and litigation being the way it is, bedbug management has become a real priority with many accommodation venues. Bedbugs are the hitchhiking kings combined with our frequent flying habits no venue is safe from bedbugs. Bedbugs are transported from venue to venue in guests’ pyjamas, luggage and sometimes second hand furniture. As mentioned bedbug activity is generally associated with accommodation venues however occasionally they may turn up in a domestic scenario if someone in the household has been travelling.
Bedbugs are a true bug having a 3 stage lifecycle Egg> Nymph> Adult. The nymph needs to moult 5 times before reaching adulthood. Each stage between moults requires a human blood meal. The whole lifecycle can be completed in less than two months or may extend longer than a year all depending on host availability.
Adult bed bugs are 4-5 mm long, oval-shaped and rusty brown in colour. Bedbugs generally harbour close to the host, ie bedhead, mattress seams, bedding, bedside furniture. When all is dark and quiet, they crawl out onto the sleeping host to feed. The bite is similar to that of a mosquito, and just like mosquito bites some people are unaware of being bitten but most bites cause swelling severe itching and irritation. An adult female bedbug may lay 200-500 eggs in her lifetime. Bedbug activity is more often reported by guests, although blood spots on the sheets may be the first indication. By this stage eggs, fecal spotting (digested blood), cast skins and live activity may be detected in harborage areas close to the host. In heavy infestations, a sweet sickly odour can be detected. Bedbugs cannot fly but will disperse through the building by crawling in search of new hosts.
What Can You Do?
Unfortunately it’s inevitable that virtually every accommodation will get bedbugs sooner or later, it’s how you respond to the infestation that matters. Many venues ignore the problem or take inadequate measures to control the infestation. It’s these venues that your bedbugs will originate from. These bedbugs have potentially been exposed to the same insecticide over and over and hence may display some pesticide resistance. For this reason and the sensitive areas requiring treatment it is not advisable for do-it-yourself control.
Thorough housekeeping combined with early detection can help with minimizing an infestation. To detect a bedbug infestation early, you and your staff should familiarize yourself with where to look and what to look for to identify bedbug activity.
If a bedbug infestation is suspected contact your pest manager immediately. The best approach is to leave the room as is and to take the offending room off the letting list until your manager has assessed the infestation. If the bedding has been stripped make sure it is double bagged the last thing we want is for the bedbugs to be dispersed.
What Can We Do?
Bedbug control is very difficult for anyone not experienced in bedbug management. We at Laguna Pest Control pride ourselves on having the knowledge, skills and experience to deliver guaranteed bedbug control. Bedbug control should always begin with a thorough inspection to determine areas of activity and the extent of the infestation. We then advise on a suitable course of treatments and inspections. A bedbug inspection should always include adjoining rooms and a treatment program should always finish with an inspection to ensure success of the program. Due to bedbugs resistance to some pesticides a minimum of two treatments but often more is required.
As mentioned the key to effective bedbug control with minimal impact on your business is early identification, Laguna Pest Control can educate and train you and your staff in how to identify bedbug activity early.
What to Expect After the Treatment?
To be bedbug free of course. However it pays to still be vigilant as it takes only one bedbug to survive and a whole new infestation can develop! If your premise has had a history of ongoing bedbug infestations it is likely to be the result of incomplete treatments and your pest manager may need to reassess your bedbug management plan or you may need to reconsider your pest manager. Bedbug control is challenging and short cuts cannot be taken.